The precursors: Thomas Wedgwood

Towards 1800, Thomas Wedgwood, the third son of the famous English porcelain manufacturer, conducted a number of trials on the sensitivity of silver salts to light; he used silver nitrate to sensitise his paper, which he then exposed in a portable camera obscura, an instrument widely used by his father’s factory for landscape backrounds. He didn’t obtain any convincing results either, despite the advice of his friend Humphry Davy, an informed chemist, who published the results of their research.


Thomas Wedgwood (Louis Figuier, La photographie, Paris, 1868-1888).